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El Salvadorian Bean and Cheese Pupusas

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“Pupusas are, in my opinion, El Salvadorian comfort food! A pupusa is like a thick corn flour pancake filled with either beans, cheese, beans and cheese, or beans, cheese and pork (which is called Pupusas Revueltas). It is served with tomato sauce to pour on top or dip bites into, and curtido on the side. These things really put me in a happy place. Enjoy the recipe-- I hope they put you in a happy place as well!”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 4 cups masa corn flour, divided
  • 2 12 cups water, divided
  • 12 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 (15 ounce) can refried beans
  • 1 cup shredded jack cheese
  • vegetable oil (for frying)
  • 1 (14 ounce) cangood quality tomato sauce


  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine refried beans and cheese. Set aside.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, combine 2 cups Masa with 1 ¼ cups water and ¼ tsp salt, mixing thoroughly until it is a soft dough (this dough dries out fast- hence the divided measurements. But if it starts to dry out while you are still working, you can add a touch more water as needed).
  3. Pinch a bit of dough off and roll it into a ball about 2 inches in diameter (about the size of a golf ball). Using your thumb, push down on the ball to make more of a “bowl”. Place a spoonful of the bean and cheese mixture into the “bowl”.
  4. Pinch off and flatten a bit more dough to cover the bowl with. Carefully flatten the filled ball to make a disc, making an effort to make it as thinly as possible- about 1/2 inch thick. This takes a lot of practice!
  5. Pour 1/4 cup of oil into a nonstick skillet and place as many pupusas as will fit, and cook over medium / medium- high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until golden and browned. Repeat with the next batch, adding more oil if necessary. When the masa dough has run out, make another fresh batch.
  6. Serve with warmed tomato sauce and curtido.

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